Vodafone Egypt and Telecom Egypt acquired new frequency bands for a combined $1.17 billion, with both aiming to put the spectrum to use in expanding and improving their networks.

In a statement, the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA) of Egypt said it allocated 40MHz of 2.6GHz TDD spectrum to Vodafone Egypt, which will pay a total of $540 million over the next two years for a licence ending in 2030.

Telecom Egypt acquired 20MHz in the band for $305 million and a further 20MHz for $325 million, also with ten-year licences.

NTRA’s head Hossam El-Gamal said the move was part of the country’s strategy to support digital transformation: the regulator expects operators to raise the efficiency of their mobile infrastructure and the quality of communication services.

Vodafone Egypt commented the new spectrum will allow it to “significantly expand network capacity to meet growing demand for reliable, high quality voice and data services”.

Telecom Egypt MD and CEO Adel Hamed pledged “an immediate and future positive impact on the company’s ability to reach the highest levels of service quality”, with the move also enabling it to cut service costs.

Vodafone was the market leader in the country in Q3, with a total of 40 million mobile connections excluding IoT, GSMA Intelligence estimated. Telecom Egypt ranked in fourth spot with 6.8 million connections.